Catholics Choose Alternative Charity for Ice Bucket Challenge

Social Media Trend Benefitting Research on ALS

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The #IceBucketChallenge has been filling Facebook feeds for days now, but as more Catholics take the challenge, some of the funds raised are being directed toward research centers committed to pro-life principles.

The Ice Bucket Challenge, sometimes called the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge, is a social media phenomenon in which anyone with a bucket of ice water and a video recording device can document themselves getting doused with ice water and post it on social media, all in the name of charity.

The challenge is primarily raising funds for amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), often called Lou Gehrig’s Disease.

Various celebrities and leaders have participated, as the challenge continues to pass from person to person.

The way it works is that the participant makes a video challenging one or several others to either dump a bucket of ice water on their head, or give a donation to a charity. For the most part, the challenge has been used to promote awareness of ALS, and encourage donations to the ALS Association. To date, the campaign has generated $50 million in donations for this charity.

However as the challenge spread through social media, some began to respond by pointing out that the ALS Association supports research on embryonic stem cells, i.e. stem cells harvested from embryos thereby causing the death of the embryo.


So as students head back to school, some Catholic schools are taking the lead in ensuring that the challenge continues to raise awareness of ALS, but also that the donations from the challenge are well used.

On Friday, Superintendent Richard Thompson launched the Archdiocese of Denver’s Catholic Schools Ice Bucket Challenge in which he dared three school principals to take the challenge.

Thompson explained in a YouTube video on Friday that a worthy charity for the challenge funds would be the John Paul II Medical Research Institute.

The John Paul II Medical Research Institute, he states, focuses on the most ethical and cost-effective way of conducting medical research to help develop therapies and cures for a variety of diseases, including ALS, Parkinson’s, and Alzheimer’s. The institute’s Web site notes that its research is done «with an emphasis on medical bioethics that is consistent with the dignity of human life.»

Archdiocese of Cincinnati Superintendent of Catholic School Jim Rigg took part in the ice bucket challenge Thursday morning.

With the principal of Elder High School, Tom Otten, Rigg was soaked with a large bucket of icy water, as the students cheered.

Both Otten and Rigg made a donation to the John Paul II Medical Research Institute.

John Paul II Medical Research Institute:

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